Low-carb in focus
Reducing carbohydrates in favor of fats and protein is a well-documented intervention for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that potentially all other diseases of civilization can also benefit from a low-carb approach. Low-carb diets may in fact represent a central element in the control and treatment of these diseases.
The various terms have not all been precisely defined to date. This complicates the interpretation and communication of research study results. For now, KetoMed is guided by the following figures (based on a daily energy intake of approx. 2,000 kcal):
Very Low Carb/Ketogenic: 20 – 50 g < 10% clinical indications e.g. epilepsy, type 2 diabetes.
Low Carb: 50 – 130 g ≤ 25% insulin resistance e.g. type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome.
Moderate Carb: 130 – 225 g 26 – 45% generally for prevention.
High Carb*: > 225 g > 45%
* recommended e.g. by the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) and health insurance companies.
(modifiziert according to Feinmanet al., Nutrition 2015)
Low-carb, ketogenic or low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diets are all, in different forms, reduced in carbohydrates, in relation to the official dietary recommendations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In all the aforementioned diets, the removal of cereals and sugar represents a central element.
Low-Carb and Moderate Carb
The term low-carb means that a diet contains fewer carbohydrates than presently recommended by the specialized societies and/or that which is typically consumed by the general population. However, there is no uniformly accepted definition. Scientists dealing with this issue suggest a low-carb diet with a maximum of 130 g of carbohydrates per day (for adults) as a therapeutic measure. In contrast, a moderate-carb diet with a slightly reduced amount of carbohydrates of about 26-45% of daily calories, is considered a generally healthy nutrition to prevent modern lifestyle diseases.
A low-carb diet ensures that glucose and insulin levels in the blood rise as little as possible even after a meal. This prevents fluctuating insulin levels that accompany insulin resistance and trigger the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), diabetes and cardiovascular disease via several pathogenic mechanisms. In a vicious circle, the amount of insulin needed to transport sugar from the blood into the body’s cells increases up to ten fold, manifesting as insulin resistance. The risk factors for insulin resistance are obesity and lack of exercise; additional factors include stress and lack of sleep.
Low-carb diets are accepted by international professional societies as a therapeutic diet for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. The change in the daily diet is relatively straightforward, since it mainly involves simply changing the proportion of calories in favor of a larger amount of vegetables / salads resulting in an overall reduction in carbohydrate intake and increase in consumption of healthy fats.
Since more than half of the population in Germany is overweight and/or undertakes insufficient daily exercise – these risk factors have again increased alarmingly in the last two years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; therefore, a preventive, moderate-carb diet is now of social importance.